My Saturday the 14th (think Friday the 13th) curse has struck again. I was hopeful that because it was my birthday I would not have to suffer it this time. However I made my way into a parking spot by crossing oncoming traffic (which itself was stopped because of someone parking) and right after I pulled in got that cheerful Whoop-Beep from a cop on a motorcycle indicating I had done something wrong. I asked him “Officer is it now illegal to turn into a parking spot?”. To which he informed me that in a business district like the one I was apparently in it was illegal to make a left turn to enter a diagonal parking space meant for traffic in opposite direction. In fact he said that was a U-turn offense. However the ticket was for:
“21461A OBEY TRAFFIC DEVICE
NO LEFT OR U-TURN”
Which does not anywhere indicate how I violated any law. Nor did I see a sign declaring that I was in a business district and more importantly there was no sign indicating “No Left Turn to Park”. As far as I know a “No Left or U-turn” is indicating the flow of traffic unto another street (or same street but opposite direction in case of U-turn) and typically at an intersection.
Here is the California Vehicle Code in toto:
21461. (a) It is unlawful for a driver of a vehicle to fail to obey
a sign or signal defined as regulatory in the federal Manual on
Uniform Traffic Control Devices, or a Department of Transportation
approved supplement to that manual of a regulatory nature erected or
maintained to enhance traffic safety and operations or to indicate
and carry out the provisions of this code or a local traffic
ordinance or resolution adopted pursuant to a local traffic
ordinance, or to fail to obey a device erected or maintained by
lawful authority of a public body or official.
(b) Subdivision (a) does not apply to acts constituting violations
under Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 22500) of this division or
to acts constituting violations of a local traffic ordinance adopted
pursuant to Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 22500).
This is by itself a very vague code and in my mind not something one can actually be charged with by itself. There is no other code cited on the ticket. The comment “NO LEFT OR U-TURN” implies the sign which the officer thinks I violated. But he did not cite exactly what code it is that I had violated which 21461(a) supposedly supports. This seems like good news for me in which case it was indeed my lucky day!